IPL as a burden

Frank LaMonica frankl at valinux.com
Wed Jan 17 18:17:41 UTC 2001

I like the terminology you used: "source included software (SIS)".  SIS would
be much better than a closed source, proprietary alternative, but I don't see
any incentive for open source programmers to contribute to such a program.  If
a company went out of business or ceased to produce the application, SIS would
at least provide an option to people so they could recover their investment in
data which was created by the application.   A better protection along those
lines would be a totally free, open, and fully documented data format.  Of
course, that would require work on the part of the application vendor, work
which they may believe they have no financial incentive to produce.  I would
argue that their incentive to produce such a set of documentation is larger
than that which could exist for an open source developer to contribute to a SIS
program.  It could cause their application to become the defacto standard for
that class of applications, and it would be a strong incentive to use in a
sales situation where potential customers are concerned about protecting future
access to their data.  It would not be "open source" by any of the accepted
definitions, but it would have a lot more value than proprietary alternatives.

Gregor Hoffleit wrote:

> On Tue, Jan 16, 2001 at 06:54:22PM +0100, Manfred Schmid wrote:
> > It is indeed interesting that GPL does not address the matter ofrunning
> > a GPLed program. From a legal standpoint it might be interesting, if the
> > OSD is an inegral part of GPL or not. From a non-legal standpoint I
> > would argue that OSD #7 covers that matter.
> By no way the OSD is an integral part of the GPL (the GPL was there long
> before the OSD came into existance).
> Well, the GPL says this:
>     "Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
> covered by this License; they are outside its scope.  The act of running the
> Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only
> if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of
> having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on
> what the Program does."
> and
>   "6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
> Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the
> original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to
> these terms and conditions.  You may not impose any further
> restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.
> You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to
> this License."
> I.e. the GPL doesn't restrict the act of running the program, and if
> somebody else redistributes the program, he can't impose any restrictions
> on running the program either.
> I think the GPL is quite explicit at this point.
> In fact, I have to say it once again: Contrary to its name, OSD is a set of
> guidelines, but not a strict definition of what makes up Open Source
> software. Take all the reactions from the crowd here, and you will see that
> the unrestricted right to run a program is inherent to the concept of Open
> Source software.
> What you're suggesting is a different concept, something like
> "source-included" software. Maybe that's a third way (fifth, seventh ?) and
> maybe it's viable, but please don't try to suggest that you're running
> inside the concept of Open Source software.
>     Gregor
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